Refineries: So Many Promises Of Going To Start Production ; Amechi Blames Lack Of Progress On Bad Leadership

 By Elizabeth Chukwuma

 Between 2015 and now the country’s four moribund refineries with a total combined refining capacity of 445,000b/d,    ought to have come on stream to end the country’s importation of products . This is because of the huge amount that the immediate past President Muhammdu Buhari was said to have spent on the rehabilitation of the refineries in his eight years in office.

 Abdullahi Sule, an Engr. And former governor of Adamawa, home state of erstwhile Vice President Atiku Abuabakar , under  Olusegun Obasanjo, a -one time Nigerian President, had  said that the Buhari Administration spent $19 billion to fix the moribund refineries  .

 Despite the regular Turn Around Maintenance, TAM, of the refineries which was said to have gulped billions of the North American country of the United States, US, dollar, the Nigerian government had contracted   Maire Tecnimont SPA, an Italian firm in April, 2021 at a cost of about $1.4 billion   for the rehabilitation works of the 210 b/d, PortHarcourt Petrochemical and Refining, PHRC, scheduled to be completed in December 2023.

PortHarcourt Refinery Under going Rehabilitattion

 Given the seriousness of the Administration in getting the moribund refineries back to work may have informed why it was said to have also contracted Daewoo E&C Nigeria Limited, a south Korea Company, Kaduna Petrochemical and Refining Comapany, on June  24, 2022, at the cost of $492,328,500  for Quick -Fix  Repairs  of the Warri Petrochemical and Refining Company, WPRC,.

Given the volume of work that needed to be done at the KPRC, may have encouraged, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, now baptised, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPCL, following the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, signed into Law, in August, 2020, by the former President, to sign an agreement with the South Korean Engineering and Construction Company, Dawoo, for the rehabilitation of the 110,000b/d, KPRC, refinery at a cost of $740 million.   

Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, the Bayelsa state born politician and minister of state Petroleum Resources, Oil, after an inspection of the PRC, last August to evaluate the level of work that had executed by Technimont, the Italian firms, that had won the multi-million dollar Contract, had assured Nigerians that the refinery will be back on stream in December 2023 and which will signal an end to the country’s products importation.

The minister who had admitted that all the country’s refineries at the three locations in the country are down for now, had reconfirmed that all them are undergoing some form of rehabilitation process to complement the potential take start off of the 650,000b/d, Dangote refinery.  

Adeyemi Adetunji, an Engr. and Group Executive Director, Downstream, NNPCL, had given Sylva Temipre, a former governor of Bayelsa state and immediate past minister of State, Petroleum Resources cause to be very cherry about when he disclosed that the Nigerian oil octopus is funding the contracts using a combination of  internally generated revenue , IGR,  and third party financing.

 Engr. Adetunji, the NNPCL, Downstream, Executive Director, was said to have made the minister to understand that ‘’the quick-fix strategy’’  adopted by the government to fix the WPRC and KPRC,  guarantees ‘’ the fastest  route  in restreaming  THE PLANTS.

  Given an insider information of the Level of work that had been executed by the contractors at the  refineries, the NPCL, dOwnstream, Executive Director had said that  the PHRC , is currently at 59% completion level.

Given that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who is in a hurry to fix the country’s  ailing refineries inherited from Buhari, many have informed why he has put Lokpobiri, the minister of state, Oil, on the  road and who has taken it upon himself to visit the PHRC and KPRC to assess the level of work that had been executed by the contractors.

Barely three months after the ministerial visit to PHRC, Lokpobiri, accompanied by Mele Kolo Kyari, the Group Managing Director, GMD,, NNPCL, was said to have also visited KPRC, to assess the level of work that had been executed by South Korean firm, Dawoo. The minister and the NNPCL, helmsman may have taken advantage of their presence in Kaduna, described as the Bandits ravaged state   for the 14th Refineries Rehabilitation Steering Committee meeting to tour the KPRC facility.

The minister who appears to be under pressure to deliver on his Presidential mandate given to the ministry and NNPCL, to ensure that the three moribund refineries inherited from the past Administration were fixed without further delay to start refining locally appears to be leaving  no tone unturned to achieve the target. This may have informed why he is not giving a breather to Maire Technimont SPA, and Dawoo E&C Nig. Ltd,   handling the rehabilitation of the PHRC and KPRC, WPRC, respectively.

The minister, acting on the brief from Kyari, the NNPCL, GMD, may have paid much attention to the repairs of the 110,000b/d, KPRC, because  it has not produced  Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, popular, petrol  for many years , thus leaving the country  to rely heavily  on imported petroleum products.

An informed source at  NNPCL, had told The Value news,  that the last time TAM was carried  out at the KPRC  plant was about 15 years ago, during the Administration of former President Obasanjo. Going by what he had seen on ground   at the KPRC, may have emboldened the minister of State, to talk authoritatively that the rehabilitation work of the refinery will be completed in December 2024. His optimism was said to have been shared by the NNPCL boss, Kyari.

 Already, the minister has made it clear to those that cares to listen that the Tinubu’s Administration resolve  ‘’to end  petroleum products importation  through the resuscitation   of the  country’s ailing refineries is unequalled by any other Administration .

 Engr. Sule, a former governor of Adamawa, state, had said that if former President Buhari had spent theover  $19 billion  in the  TAM  of the moribund refineries in the,eight years   to start a new refinery project the country would not have been  in this mess of running around the ring.

The former Adamawa governor had made a mockery of the Buhari’s Administration   that the government spent over $19 billion in carrying out TAM, of the country’s refineries but Aliko Dangote, President Dangote Industries, had spent the same amount of $19 billion to build a 650,000b/d refinery at the Lekki Free Trade Zone, in Lagos, the nation’s Commercial nerve centre.

According to him, the business mogul had launched the refinery project in 2017 but the former Nigerian President had rushed to Commission the project a few days  before  the expiration of the Administration.

He may have sent a message to the then Nigerian President, given his Engineering background about the complexity of maintaining the refineries due’’ to the adverse components’’ , that problem of the old refineries that would remain a recurring decimal and a drain pipe to the economy but was ignored.

 He had thrown light to the former President’s approved that the government will spend $2 billion on the TAM of the refineries. The former Adamawa state governor noted that as far as the then Nigerian President was concerned the government has approved the $2 billion for the TAM of the broken down refineries but in actual fact nothing was done. He noted that this was  why ‘’none of the refineries  in the country is working until the Italian and South Korean firms were contracted to rehabilitate the  445,000b/d refneries ‘’.

Rotimi Amaechi, a former governor of Rivers state and a- one time minister of Transportation, had blamed ‘’ the docility of Nigerians for the inability  of  the country  to get the right  form of Leadership’’.  Speaking at  the 2023 The Niche Annual Lecture,’’Why We Stride and Slip’’: Leadership, Patriotism  and the Nigerian Condition in Lagos on Thursday, October 26, 2023, the former Rivers state governor had said that  ‘’Nigerians  know that  most politicians  are not honest  but they will still go ahead  to vote  for them during elections’’.

Hear him: Nigerians don’t react to anything. He wouldwant Nigerians to know that no politician would ever come out to say  that he isa  thief but Nigerians would still vote for them during elections.  He had used the opportunity provided by The Niche Annual Lecture to hit hard at his sworn enemy, Hajia Hadiza  Bala Usman, erstwhile Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA,   when he was minister of Transportation .The former minister had said that the former NPA, boss who an approving limit of N2.5 billion had exceeded the limits as she approves  N2.8 billion  contracts  with no appropriation.

 The former minister had said that Hajia Usman, as the former Managing Director of NPA, has no powers to award such contracts without ministerial approval, noting that these are dollars accruable to the Nigerian economy.

 He  had said  that ‘’Nigeria can never move forward with such people still in a position of Leadership’’.  Presiddent Tinubu , may have appointed Hajia Usman,  the former NPA, Managing Director  as the Special Adviser  on Policy Coordination, to spite Aaechi for  daring to challenge his Presidential ambition in the All Progressive Congress,  APC,  Primary, which he had lost.

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